WHO bankrolled Jesus and St Paul on their evangelising missions?
Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane raised the thought-provoking question at the launch of the Annual Catholic Campaign in the archdiocese’s Francis Rush Centre on May 17.
“Who bankrolled Jesus for those three years of his public ministry?” the Archbishop asked.
“Who bankrolled St Paul for his large, complex and costly mission which lasted much more than three years?”
“The mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ has always cost money.”
The new campaign will support Centacare Brisbane projects, disadvantaged children in Catholic schools, and seminarians and retired priests.
It will also provide resources for other religious ministries of the Church.
Themed “You Make A Difference to Me”, it will roll four parish-based archdiocesan appeals into one.
As part of the campaign, a letter from Archbishop Coleridge will be sent to all 48,000 families in archdiocesan schools inviting support for ministries of the Church.
More than 200 parishioners, archdiocesan staff, clergy and religious attended the launch.
It was the third of four launches.
Others have been held in Surfers Paradise and Ipswich, and a final one will be held at Sippy Downs on June 7.
Vicar general Monsignor Peter Meneely led the gathering in prayer, noting “how blessed we are as people who live in this beautiful part of Australia”.
Archdiocesan resource development director Peter de Keratry and campaign chairs James and Patrice McKay also addressed the gathering.
Mr de Keratry, in announcing the campaign, said “one of the reasons why we’re doing this is we’ve had comment from parishes about the number of appeals”.
“We’re trying to consolidate the number of in-parish appeals,” he said.
He spoke of two fundamental changes in the campaign.
“The first is that Catholic schools are involved and engaged so there’ll be many, many more people to be part of this process who’ve never been invited to participate.
“The second is we’re asking people to become regular monthly donors providing ongoing support for ministries over time.
“Most charities in Australia – Cancer Council of Australia, Fred Hollows, RSPCA … all of these have become very attuned to the idea of monthly recurring gifts.
“Through regular giving, over time and over the course of a year, the amount given is much greater than a one-off gift.”
Mr McKay said he and his wife were honoured to chair the campaign.
“I don’t think the Catholic Church is good at singing its own praises about all it does in health and education and helping those struggling,” he said.
“This work makes a huge difference in society.”
Archbishop Coleridge outlined a key reason for the change in strategy adopted by the Annual Catholic Campaign.
“In the past, there was a strategy that worked brilliantly,” he said.
“It no longer does … we have to accept that as part of planning for the future.
“The strategy was based on the four pillars – church, presbytery, school and convent.
“We still have these structures – although some have been sold off.
“We still have the presbytery, although where we might have had four priests, there’s now just one.
“Churches are not as full as they once were but schools are overflowing.
“Planning needs to be based on facts on the ground – not as they were 50, 100 or whatever years ago, but now.”
The Archbishop also spoke on the need for “attention to the grace of the moment”.
“I think one of these graces is the call to greater co-ordination, collaboration and communication,” he said.
Archbishop Coleridge then developed the theme of relationships.
“The community of faith can seem overwhelmingly big and anonymous, some say it is monolithic,” he said.
“However, it’s about people with names and faces like you and me and that’s why the theme is very well judged.
“It says: You Make A Difference to Me … in other words it’s individual people in community making a real difference to real people.
“I encourage you all to be bold and generous … generosity is always rewarded in one way or another.”
For more information on the Annual Catholic Campaign 2013, visit www.catholiccampaign.com.au or call the Catholic Foundation at (07) 3324 3200.